Post by abbaprofessor on Jun 29, 2019 10:49:55 GMT
Abba made the girls millionaires and they have not had to work after Abba. But came to think, have never seen information in the public how they were paid. Obviously, the songwriters got money from singles/ album sales and radio play. Did the girls also get money from record sales ? Did they have a monthly salary ? Paid yearly a certain sum ? Did they have specific contracts ?
All 4 members of the group got (and will still get) artist royalties - albeit that some of them have, or had, various set-ups in which to collect these. Naturally, the guys will get more royalties than the girls, as writers (Agnetha will get a negligible royalty from the 2 songs where she provided the music).
When Agnetha was 17, she got the equivalent of a monthly salary from Cupol Records. I don't know about the Polar days, but all members benefitted from Polar Music share ownership too.
It's safe to say that no-one went without an income!
Yes, they each owned 12.5% of Polar Music International AB, and a 3.5% royalty rate on record sales (this rate was, I think, joint not individual). Benny and Björn also had a further 2.5% royalty rate for being producers, and as has been said, they would have got whatever the writers’ rate was. As part-owners of Polar they all presumably benefitted from profits (as share dividends).
As they all sold their Polar interests in the 1980s, this left them on royalties only and was the reason for the legal action they took in the early 1990s. They wanted to renegotiate the 3.5% to something like 9%, to make up for what they were losing in share dividends (bearing in mind the company’s profits were mainly earned by ABBA). At this point, Polar had been sold to Polygram, but as the original contract had been signed when Stig owned 50% of the company and they wanted it backdating, the action was against him.
That was all in Carl Magnus Palm’s Bright Lights, Dark Shadows. It was therefore presumably public knowledge. The out-of-court settlement was never made public, though I would suspect they reached a compromise somewhere between the 3.5% and the 9% (with Benny and Björn’s further being topped up by producers and writers royalties).
I don’t have the book to hand so can’t confirm the royalty rates, but I did check the relevant parts of the book recently as there was a topic on the legal action. The percentages I’ve given here will be about right, give or take a 0.5%.
If they did get a better royalty rate out of the settlement, it was at exactly the right time as ABBA Gold was released two years later. At the time of the legal action, their record sales were at their lowest.